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Lament for the Fall of the One-Hundred Twenty-Third Block
Phillip MacArthur


The time had come for all things to change,
All your childhood memories erased,
Everything you thought you knew replaced
With things neighborly and all strange.
Whatever you love: the rock 'n' roll,
The silver screen magic, song and dance,
The puppet theater, has been choked,
As the voice of the frog had croaked.

The filtered air is no longer sweet.
The dead man's count is off the charts,
Of shattered dreams and broken hearts.
What is wholesome is merely deceit.
The end was brought by a small red imp,
Who tickled fancies and hypnotized
His charm was all but mirrors and smoke,
When the voice of the frog had croaked.

The cookie crumbs are nothing but lies!
Don't let children play on the junk heap;
Without self-esteem they'll be dirt cheap,
Like monsters damned to philosophize,
Ever changing "in" to "out" and back,
And justice is near, justice is far.
The monstrous moa flew unprovoked,
Since the voice of the frog had croaked.

This street died, succumbed to conversion;
Bears no more think their porridge just right,
Small sesame seed, vanished in night,
Brotherly love seen as perversion.
Swept up clouds block out the morning sun.
But no one can listen to the heart
Of a frog anymore, the imp joked,
For the voice of the frog had croaked.
Full title: Lament for the Fall of the One-Hundred Twenty-Third Block

A poem I wrote quite a while ago, lamenting the loss of childhood innocence, and how more and more these days, the problems of adulthood are forced upon children, because adults have gotten so bad at dealing with these problems themselves.

It's lamenting the extreme changes that have befallen the show Sesame Street between when I watched it as a kid, and now.
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:iconrexcalibur:
Rexcalibur Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
oAo I like the rhyme scheme here. Fits where you were getting at with this poem imo~
Gorgeous description in the first stanza, and lovely end as well. Especially digging how you ended each stanza with that croaking frog description. Saddening </3
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011
thanks very much! now that I've actually taken a class on poetry writing, I can see just how much set number of syllables or meter or effective rhyme scheme can solidify a piece.
glad you like it. :hug:
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:iconsuperherogeek13:
SuperheroGeek13 Featured By Owner May 18, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
This is so sad and so true. I really like the recurring theme of the frog that croaked. Really spot on metaphor. Its so sad how show that stick around for years become so much less than they used to be. They all used to be much muchier. :no:
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner May 19, 2011
progression of shows should be just that: progress. alas, there are many sharks that get jumped, usually for the sake of more and more money.
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:iconsuperherogeek13:
SuperheroGeek13 Featured By Owner May 20, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yes! Character and themes grow as a show goes on and on! I'd rather see a show canceled than have it digress into horrible repetitiveness. :(
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner May 20, 2011
this is one important reason to plan out the entire script beforehand. heh
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:iconsuperherogeek13:
SuperheroGeek13 Featured By Owner May 21, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, always a must. :nod:
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:iconjaimenwester:
JaimeNWester Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
That was beautiful.
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011
thanks very much! glad you liked it. thanks for faving, too
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:iconjaimenwester:
JaimeNWester Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
No trouble at all. I'd fave it a million times if I could. I'd go into just how much I like it, but then I'd never shut up. XD :blahblah: :love:
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011
feel free to elaborate if you wish to, I don't mind long comments. indeed, I often give out multiple-paragraph comments myself. :XD:
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:iconjaimenwester:
JaimeNWester Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Alright, then I will.
"The voice of the frog had croaked" is a clever way of saying that Jim Henson died, while not only being the sound a frog makes, it also rhymes.
"The filtered air is no longer sweet" is how Sesame Workshop is trying to please everybody. They are doing a damn good job of it, but by doing so, they're giving up why this show was different, and ahead of it's time.
"The dead man's count is off the charts,
Of shattered dreams and broken hearts." People SHOULD be broken-hearted, Jim Henson was too good to be true. But if you're truely a loyal fan, after mourning his death, you must be inspired to move on, stronger, faster, and harder than ever.

"The end was brought by a small red imp,
Who tickled fancies and hypnotized
His charm was all but mirrors and smoke," Elmo symbolizes the change, the future. People like him because he's this perfect child-like character (not to mention marketable), who can always claim that he's just 3 and doesn't know any better. You'd think if they wanted to grow his character, they'd realise that by having him say, "Elmo doesn't know any better," that would be the que that would, in turn, have no choice but to start learning. If his charm is holding a mirror up to the world, that doesn't mean he's trying to show us ourselves. It means that he's shoving religion down our throats, and really HE'S the one who is BEHIND the mirror. He's a fool, and just like children who don't like change, it's really the only option to grow. He can only keep saying that things scare him because he doesn't understand what they are for so long until he finally realizes that the only way to grow, is to let go. Personally, I like Elmo. Not because I'm stupid and biting the hand that feeds me, but because I've look SO FAR into it, that I'm above hating him. Jim Henson hired Kevin Clash, and I believe that he's a great puppeteer, but I also believe that while he's doing his job so well, not only does he needs to take a step back and come back down to reality, I also believe that it's not entirely his/Elmo's fault. Again, Sesame Workshop is trying to please everyone, which really just prohibits Elmo from being anything else.

"The cookie crumbs are nothing but lies." I know this is Cookie Monster. You're saying he's not really been eating cookies. I'd encourage you to look more into the matter about vegetables. I whole heartedly agree that he should eat NOTHING but cookies. But in actuality, he eats everything. Even before this monster had the name Cookie, he has been eating machines, & foam letters. Later to eat trucks, plates, computers and other various things that aren't even foods. If anything, he should be named the Food Monster. Not because he eats all kinds of foods, but because everything he eats, whether it's food or not, he considers food. Sesame Workshop has to consider and take the responses they get from parents very seriously. And I believe that right now, they are pleasing everyone. I get disappointed when I read comments from people who think they know what they're talking about when they say, "He's been renamed the VEGGIE MONSTER now!"
Cookies will always be his favorite food. He'll always have a special place in his heart (and stomach) for cookies. They have to explore other things to teach kids that it's all okay. They all just need to look more into it, and they'd see. And it's not like he doesn't currently eat huge platefuls of cookies now, because he does. Have you seen newer episodes? Don't get me started on his new voice-actor, while no one will ever be the new Frank Oz, that's still not a good enough reason to dislike David Rudman. He's keeping the character alive.

"Don't let the children play on the junk heap". This is Oscar. This is saying, keep the children pure as long as you can. Again, while there's nothing wrong with innocence, I don't beleive you should filter the world from them.
"Without self-esteem they'll be dirt cheap" LOL I almost missed the GAINT YELLOW BIRD JOKE! NOW I FEEL STUPID.

I'm seeing all the other characters here like Grover, Baby Bear, etc. All important but I want to talk more about what's next:
"Brotherly love seen as perversion". Bert and Ernie are possibly the most popular characters on Sesame Street. Everyone gives them shit on being gay, but really, what's it to them? Sounds like they'd secretly like them to be. I very much like to think they are. XD They fight like a married couple. But instead of people being happy for their misery, they say it's wrong, perverted.
But they are to teach that you can get along with someone, and even love them, even though you may be completely different. Well, the older sketches at least. Not so sure about the new ones.
It's clear that they do love eachother whether it's as a couple or not. Who am I to say that they can't love eachother? "The people at Sesame Street are way too clever for their own good."
They don't say they are gay, and they say that they aren't INTENTIONALLY TRYING to target gays, but then they come out with merchandise with them and rainbows all over it. They are trolling us, and I love it. I also really like that Bert and Ernie are ageless, or they are exactly the age they need to be from sketch to sketch depending on what lesson they are teaching.
Personally, Jim Henson and Frank Oz taught me what love is. Their performance and master puppeteering together cannot be successfully copied. They played off of eachother so well, and had amazing chemistry. I do still appreciate Steve Whitmire and Eric Jacobson, keeping their characters alive. While the clay-mation is entertaining, I think the fact that they are given bodies/legs to go on adventures completely takes away from what Bert and Ernie teach us. Because they were puppets and had limited mobility, they ironically had the most clever and important lessons to teach on the street. LOVE

Sweeping the clouds away? Not anymore, they've overshot it.

I'll leave you with this:
:icontrollface:
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011
Hm! Well, you certainly did what you set out to do in writing a long comment. this thing's a freaking essay, man! :XD:
You actually got most of your analysis spot on! way to look into it. Just a few things I'd like to add!:

the "dead man's count" actually isn't Jim Henson. it's Count vonCount. but even so, your interpretation is quite awesome.

Elmo as himself isn't all that bad. he was just fine at the start and all. but he eventually became like the whole face of sesame street, marketing-wise. when the show is really about ALL of them... he took over. I never liked his personality... and like you said, he should be showing kids how to grow, not just stay stagnate.

the cookie crumbs line is also a reference to the game "Portal," in which at the beginning everything seems all clean and sanitary and under control, all focus on progress and development, but you soon figure out that this is just a farce, and under the surface is a pretty shady operation.

I'm just going to say this to you, even though I run great risk of being flamed to a crisp.... but, you're one of the few people who delved so deep into this poem to get this far...
I don't support gay rights. I don't think their goals are honorable, and I don't like what they're doing to the modern image of what a family is. That's my truth. they make it very insecure for guys to actually admit love of things, without the postfix "no homo" when this shouldn't be a problem. love is a good thing, but people are afraid of it.
the makers of sesame street have denied ernie and bert being about homosexuality, but everyone just assume it to be so. This is a direct violation respect for author, and respect for character: but it's seen all the time in the world of anime. ^^; I don't like it, fans taking characters they claim to love and changing them into something they're not. maybe they act somewhat gay sometimes.... I don't know. I haven't watch recent episodes of this. I never got this idea when I was a kid. I just saw it as brotherly love. other viewers taking this love and twisting it into something out-of-character that it isn't.... THAT'S the 'perversion' that I'm talking about.

Ideally, as people get older and realizes that all these characters are puppets, operated by men, they should be duly fascinated by the whole mastery of it, and that they were captivated for so long in their childhoods. true mastery inspires, and should not cause all this worry about the upbringing of our children. but, sesame street worked its way into that position.... a position of great power. and you most likely know what every super-hero movie says about 'great power' and what comes along with that: great responsibility.
and that's one of the best lessons you can teach a child. hopefully, the future sesame street will use this power more responsibly.
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:iconjaimenwester:
JaimeNWester Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
What can I say? I like a good challenge. Oh the Count. I'm so stupid. I knew there was still a lot that I was missing. But yes, Elmo outside of Elmo's world is decent.

About Bert and Ernie, I can respect what you've said. As human beings, the way that we show love, is by hurting each other. That's probably why fans disrespect the author. If one is going to be a creator, one needs to be able to handle the good and the bad. Even now, as I respond to your comment, I'm only responding to the things that we haven't come to an agreement on, whether it's because I haven't fully grasped the characters you used, or because we've got different views on the "gay rights" issue. I do it out of love. To be honest, It's not that I'm passionate about gay marriage rights. It's that, who am I to hold such power to make that decision? Similar to how I don't agree or disagree with abortion, I just believe that it's that person's own choice to make, and it shouldn't affect me.
"they make it very insecure for guys to actually admit love of things, without the postfix "no homo" -This is true.

One thing I was worried about is the "Dirt Cheap" thing. I'm from Missouri, which I'm almost positive is the only state that even has Dirt Cheap Beer & Liquor Stores. So I tried to call that one as Big Bird, when I didn't really know what it was for sure.

Your last paragraph about how power needs to be handled, has brought me to my knees. So beautiful. :iconhappytearsplz:
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner May 2, 2011
When people are in agreement, they usually don't discuss the issue nearly as much as if there's a disagreement. this is a simple fact of nature, but many people can get lost in this tendency, and cease being about to see the positive sides of things (I.E, the agreement between people.)

I'm glad I can talk to someone about gay rights who has an opposing view as mine without being flamed. ^^; but like you said, you're not all that passionate about it... and me? I try to avoid the whole issue whenever I can.

The dirt cheap line is basically a continuation of the junk heap line. there's an over-protection attitude nowadays that children should be kept clean all the time, sanitized, and all germs should be given restraining orders for any mother's child. But I think it's good for kids to go outside and get dirty! I remember playing as a kid in an extremely polluted stream by my friends' house, and I never even thought about what crazy germs I was picking up... but I don't ever remember getting sick directly from it. it just gave me good experiences, and probably boosted my immune system way up. :XD:

I thank you for your last paragraph there; I'm glad you appreciate it all so much! ^^
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(2 Replies)
:iconasmg:
asmg Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
hmmm, i almost feel this is sorta true for any kids' shows nowadays :\

...or it's just me missing the classic cartoons that weren't too random to be just kinda stupid? :hmm:
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
right! I feel that warner brothers ceasing with saturday morning cartoons was also a big blow to this industry. a whole ton of kid's animes is ok, but some variety is also good!
seriously, the only good recent show I know of that was meant more for kids was the movie "ponyo"
Don't know of any tv series at all that would be worthwhile for them.
maybe when I have kids, I'll raise them on homestar runner. :XD:
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:iconasmg:
asmg Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
what's a homestar runner? 0.o
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011
super awesome internet cartoon that everyone should know about.
[link]

It's sort of a hard thing to really get into, but once you do it's awesome.
and they pretty much stopped updating a bit over a year ago, though. again, call for lament.... ^^;
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:iconasmg:
asmg Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011
AWESOMENESS! THAAT's where you got the teen girl squad prettty coool =D
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011
exactly. =D
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:iconfelousefarnayne:
felousefarnayne Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
ahh Sesame Street a show I grew up with at one point in my childhood and it sure seems to have a darker tone and I like how you reference them all without naming any of them but use the trademarks as a way to make you think of them really well written nice work and keep it up ^^
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
right! I changed the names to protect the innocent. :XD:
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:iconeralynia:
Eralynia Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
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:iconwarpjedi:
WarpJedi Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
Hmmm
I'm not used to read poetry, but i liked it :)
Sesame Street... Never seen, but I've heard of it many times ^^
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
well, I can take both aspects of this comment as good signs!
don't bother looking into sesame street now... as implied, it has just become trash.
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:iconwarpjedi:
WarpJedi Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
- yeah, I guess XD
- hmmm... what a pity, eh :/
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:iconeralynia:
Eralynia Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
I assume the "red imp" is Elmo? My sister would like this. She's a huge fan of classic Sesame Street and all Jim Henson's work.

Actually Kevin Klash, the guy who acts as Elmo, is a really awesome and hilarious guy. Let me find a video. There are a few great ones where Kevin and Elmo are on an Australian talk show. Even if you still don't like Elmo (I don't either), it's very entertaining and enlightening.
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:iconbob-owe:
Bob-owe Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2011
heh, yeah, that video link was pretty interesting. but yeah, the red imp is elmo, and I still see him as the sort of catalyst of the turning point of the show. he's the shark that was jumped. see, due to his crazy popularity boom, they started selling out more, and probably had to become even MORE 'politically correct,' because kids shows aren't supposed to offend anyone... but, it became politically correct to the point of sickening, in my opinion. ^^;
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:iconeralynia:
Eralynia Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011
Yeah. It's gotten watered down a lot, and is no longer a mold-breaking boldly progressive show. *sigh* I don't think Elmo is to blame, though he is extremely annoying.
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